We’re very pleased to be able to announce today’s approval of the Digitool DBI3 flight instrument by the Federal Aviation Administration. This project, two years in the making, brings a new option to the market for balloon pilots worldwide.
The DBI3 is a self-contained, fully Part 31 compliant flight instrument designed to replace aging instruments in some balloons, as well as providing a viable, low-cost option for new equipment.
Features include altimeter, variometer, and temperature indicating displays, as well as a flight timer, audio alarms, and an integral GPS showing ground track and speed. The DBI3 also has an on-board flash memory capable of storing up to 10,000 hours of recoverable flight data (function not yet enabled). The DBI3 is powered by an integral LiPo battery lasting up to 12 hours per charge; no replaceable batteries to contend with.
The DBI3 is approved for installation on 15 different balloons currently type certificated in the United States, under the provisions of an Approved Model List. This is a first in ballooning – usually, supplemental type certificates apply to the installation of a device on a specific brand, make and/or model of aircraft, but on the recommendation of our Aircraft Certification Office project managers, we were able to gain approval across a wide spectrum of aircraft. Installation documentation is incredibly simple; there is a Flight Manual Supplement, specific to the balloon, and an FAA Form 337 (supplied) which must be completed by the repair station and forwarded directly to the FAA. There is NO requirement for a field approval by the local FSDO, which has been a problem with past installations of other replacement instruments.
(UPDATE: September 22, 2017 - We have been informed by the Atlanta Flight Standards District Office that NO FAA Form 337 is required for this installation. The addition of the DBI III is a "minor alteration", under regulatory guidelines. Instruments will be shipped with an appropriate Form 8130, and nothing other than a logbook entry is required. It is suggested that a repair station complete the logbook entry. Addtional information is available by contacting Dave Sullivan at Balloonacy.)
As the sole distributor and licensee for the DBI3 in the Western Hemisphere, we look forward to continuing our support of the balloon community. Sales, repair and recalibration of the DBI3 will be managed thru our instrument repair facility located in the Atlanta, Georgia area. You may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 770-719-9492.